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Creating Bass Lines by Rhayn Jooste

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Creating Bass Lines by Rhayn Jooste… This series of articles is in response to a question I had on twitter that I was not able to formulate an answer too in 140 letters: “How do you create your bass lines?” So what I am going to do in the next couple of months is step through some examples from the band I am in and some made up examples to highlight the processes I go through to achieve the bass lines I want or need, This is a personal approach and I suggest you use it as a starting point to find the method that works best for you.

The Road Map.

First thing I will do before anything else is sit down with the idea or track and chart (by chart, I mean by ear and in my mind) the chord changes, nailing the root notes. I will work out the key and and its associated scales and just play through it a couple of times until I am familiar with the harmonic territory and the structure. Eventually playing through it with crotchet root notes or maybe whole notes, the idea is to nail the changes – dead, whilst building up a familiarity with the landscape.

Memorize the Changes: If you have to write the chords down, do; however I have found I remember the changes better if I have worked them all out by ear. They stay fixed in my mind a lot firmer due to the amount of times I have had to listen to the track whilst working them out.

The Rhythm Section.

Working in close harmony with the drums and the drummer is essential. So next step for me is to start marking the main beats of the bass drum. Again due to repetition I have already subconsciously started to do this in the step above. Why? Well if you are playing whole notes on beat 1, you generally tend to listen closer to what happens around you after that, or at least you should be. My ideas all stem from listening in to the drum part closely during this phase. After that I start to try them out, to see what fits and what does not. Sometimes its obvious what I want or have to do, other times its takes repeated attempts slowly adjusting rhythms until it feels right.

Style and Mood: This is where getting a feel for the mood of a piece comes into play, also what style of music it is. If it’s straight ahead rock you are going to be playing some sort of moving bass line, if its funk a slap one etc. etc. Take as much time over playing through your ideas as you can here, recording them is a really good idea too. It is at this stage I also start to formulate ideas on timbre and tone i.e. What position on the fretboard and what octave will be suitable. However that’s down to personal taste and will vary from player to player.

Below is a run down on how I approached a ballad that was not written by me. The song and it’s structure had been formulated with no bass lines or drum parts.

Example One: As They Lay my Body Down

This is a ballad in the key of G minor and its all about the groove. If the rhythm section is not together it really effects the song and ruins the mood. It needs to be tight yet simple as the main locus of the song are the words. There is no space of histrionics.

I started with the above method and literally played through it with a backing track and then live at least a hundred times before I had the ideas cemented as to what I felt was good. Each section has a relaxing and a tightening up of the rhythms depending on what the vocals are doing. I have created pockets of space around the snare beat deliberately whilst catching the main bass drum rhythms in the verses – opting for a subtle use of staccato notes and tighter rhythms in the chorus. There are some idiosyncratic ear catching ideas that I have used to connect the sections: namely legato runs. The bass part flattens out rhythmically during the long guitar solo on the end and slowly starts adding back the syncopation and pulsating ideas building tension as the song approaches the ending.

Gear News

New Gear: Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series Basses

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Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

Spector offers Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses…

Spector, a leading authority in bass guitar design, unveils two new Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses. Synonymous with bass excellence since 1987, Wimbish collaborated with Spector’s USA Custom Shop to create the DW-4 and DW-5 models, echoing the iconic instruments that have been favored heavily throughout his recording and performing career.
 
These signature basses faithfully replicate Wimbish’s originals, down to the smallest details like neck contours and nut widths. Customized EMG pickups, developed in collaboration with Wimbish, capture the distinctive sound that has shaped his monumental musical impact. These models invite players to explore the feel and response that have defined Wimbish’s signature style over the years.
 
Available in 4-string and 5-string versions, each model boasts unique features & finish options. The DW-4 comes in Amber Stain Gloss and Black Stain Gloss options, while the DW-5 offers Dark Blue Stain Gloss and Faded Natural Gloss. Every purchase includes a certificate of authenticity signed by Doug Wimbish. Wimbish comments, “Spector took the time to get every little nuance right, and that to me is dedication and being thoughtful enough to know ‘I want to nail it,’ and they did. I’m able to pick these instruments up for the first time and play them like I’ve already had them for years.”

For more information, visit spectorbass.com/doug-wimbish-usa-signature-series/.

Photo: Doug Wimbish, pictured with the new Spector Doug Wimbish USA Custom Series basses

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Bass CDs

New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings

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New Campaign: Alberto Rigoni, Nemesis Call - Queens Of Strings

Italian bass master and composer ALBERTO RIGONI is thrilled to announce his brand new project “Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings”.

Nemesis Call – Queens Of Strings features a super talented drummer from Japan (TBA) and tons of female guitarists such as SAKI, Giusy Busetto, Alexandra Zerner (TBC) and many many others (TBA). Furthermore, Alberto has also launched a Fundraising Campaign for the project. 20% of the income will be donated to Lega del Filo d’Oro legadelfilodoro.it/it, an Italian association that helps deaf and blind children!

Alberto shares:
“Hello friends and music lovers! I’m Alberto Rigoni, an Italian composer and.. a BASS GUY! Between 2008 and 2024 I released 13 solo albums, spanning from progressive, rock, ambient to funky and experimental music, which also features contributions from musicians such as keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) drummer Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Marco Minnemann (the Aristocrats), keyboardist Kevin Moore (ex Dream Theater), singer John Jeff Soto (ex  Goran Edman (ex Y. Malmsteen), bassists Nathan East, Stu Hamm (Joe Satriani), Nik West (ex Prince) and many others. I’m also bass player for BAD As, Sunset Groove Society, Kim Bingham, The Italians bands and co-producer of Mistheria’s Vivaldi Metal Project.”

Alberto on the new project Nemesis Call:
“Even if my latest album “Unexpected Lullabies”, dedicated to my newborn Vittoria Parini Rigoni, will be released on June 4th, 2024, when Vittoria came to life I felt the need to compose new music (yes, I really can’t stop!!!!!). This time will be quite challenging because I’m willing to release an instrumental ambient/prog/rock/metal album, that will feature a talented and young drummer (TBA) and tons of female guitarists (that’s why I will call the album “Queens of the Strings”) such as Alexandra Zerner, YOKA and many others (TBA/TBC)). It won’t be easy to manage all such great musicians but I will make it!! Are you ready to face a new prog experience? The album will be released in Digipack CD and in high-quality digital format approximately at the beginning of 2025.”

The Fundraising Campaign:
As an independent artist, Alberto is looking for supporters who can help him reach the budget for the production (recordings, mix, mastering, artwork etc.) of this new album and has started this fundraising campaign that will end successfully on October 15th, 2024.

Get further information about Alberto Rigoni’s new project Nemesis Call Fundraising campaign at albertorigoni.net/nemesiscal

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @foderaguitars @bqwbassguitar @lecomptebass @xvector_basses @vuorensaku_guitars @phdbassguitars @meridian_guitars @sterlingbymusicman @ramabass.ok @overwaterbasses

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Gear News

New Gear: Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

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Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

Alberto Rigoni Signature Bass, the VPR5 by Gaetano Costanzo!

Internationally renowned bassist ALBERTO RIGONI (soloist, BAD AS, Vivaldi Metal Project, TwinSpirits, etc.) is proud to announce the release of his signature bass VPR5 made by renowned Italian luthier Gaetano Costanzo!

The bass is entirely handmade in Italy, without the use of CNC or other machinery, and has rather special features. The VPR is a 5-string bass (but also available as a 4-string) with 30 frets, Seymour Duncan pickups, Music Man Alnico style, passive electronics (volume, tone and a switch to select series/parallel/single-coil mode), alder body, and American maple neck and fingerboard. Gotoh tuners that ensure perfect intonation. The bass is totally painted white (nitro finish) but other colors can be requested. The VPR has a weight of about 2.9 kg and suitable for any genre.

For more information contact Gaetanobass77@gmail.com or visit online at www.instagram.com/gaetanocostanzoluthier or www.facebook.com/GaetanoCostanzoLuthier

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